Funnel Breakdowns

🥷🏻 Funnel Breakdown #1: Tiago Forte

Published 8 months ago • 8 min read

Unlike most productivity experts, Tiago Forte originally started taking notes as a way to save his own life.

Yes, you read that right!

In 2002, he came down to a mysterious illness that no doctor knew how to treat or cure, which turned out to be a rare chronic condition.

But thanks to the note-taking habit he developed as he did his own research, he was able to find a series of measures to manage this strange condition and function normally again.

After overcoming that, he got his first “real” job at a consulting firm in California—where his note-taking habit came in handy again.

But after almost a decade working as a consultant and refining his note-taking system, he decided to quit his full-time job to teach and share his unique approach with others.

Since then, he has:

  • Become one of the world’s top productivity experts
  • Shared his frameworks with 5,000+ students
  • Grown an audience of 300k+ die-hard fans
  • Published 2 best-selling books
  • And built a 7-figure business

Quite a ride, huh?

Now recently, I stumbled upon Tiago’s website and realized he’d launched an email course.

So, obviously I got curious and couldn’t help but dig into his new funnel.

And after 15+ hours of research, I’m excited to share with you my findings.

Here’s what you can expect to learn from this week’s Funnel Breakdown:

  • A proven principle to increase your email course (or newsletter) opt-in rates
  • An underrated tactic to create an attention-grabbing welcome email
  • One of the most powerful headline writing frameworks I’ve learned
  • The benefits of adding “fast forward” links to your email course

And tons more!

So, are you ready?

Let’s dive in!

Funnel Piece #1: The Opt-In Page

First, let’s break down Tiago’s email course landing page.

Design-wise the page looks great.

He has tons of social proof from big names, which is obviously great too.

And he also has a nice “teaser” video next to (or below, if look from mobile) the headline, the sub-headline, and the opt-in button.

In this video, Tiago talks about how building a Second Brain can change the trajectory of your career and help you achieve your goals—basically “selling” you on his method.

Having a video like this on your email course or lead magnet landing page is definitely a nice addition. But it isn’t indispensable by any means. So, don’t sweat it if you don’t have one!

Also, I’d probably save a video like this for the next step of the funnel—but we’ll talk about that here in a second.

Alright—so those are the things he’s doing a good job of.

But I can see a handful of low-hanging upgrades he could make here to increase opt-in rates.

Let’s break those down.

Opt-In Page Upgrade #1: Making The Headline More “Tangible”

You’ve probably heard this before—but it’s worth repeating:

Your headline is the single most important part of your landing page.

This is what you should spend 80% of your time tweaking and refining.

Now, Tiago’s headline isn’t bad.

In fact, it’s pretty close to be really good.

But to get there, it needs to be more tangible.

I’ve spent the last 3 years working side by side with Nicolas Cole. He’s the best copywriter I’ve had the chance to meet and work with. And one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from him is the importance of making your copy tangible.

Take a look at Tiago’s headline:

“A Proven Method To Organize Your Digital Life And Unlock Your Creative Potential”

Now, let’s analyze each individual piece:

  • A proven method = Tangible. It feels like a “thing.”
  • 🚫 Organize your digital life = Intangible. What does this mean, exactly? What does it look and feel like to have an organized digital life?
  • 🚫 Unlock your creative potential = Intangible. Again, what does this mean? How can we make this more concrete and specific?

Here’s how I’d rewrite this headline:

A Proven Method To Effortlessly Turn Your Notes, Knowledge, & Ideas Into Life-Changing Opportunities

We could definitely get more clear and specific—but Tiago is clearly trying to attract a wide audience here, so we need to keep it a bit broad.

But do you see the difference?

  • 🚫 Your digital life = vague
  • Your notes, knowledge, and ideas = more specific
  • 🚫 Unlock your creative potential = vague
  • Life-changing opportunities = more concrete

Opt-In Page Upgrade #2: Embedding The Opt-In Form On The Page

The second upgrade Tiago could make to this landing page:

Embedding the opt-in form right on the page (instead of having a button you have to click on for it to show up).

When creating lead magnet landing pages for my clients, one of the things I’m always trying to do is find ways to reduce friction for the end user.

Because here’s the thing:

People are lazy—so the easier you can make it for them to take the action you want, the higher the chances that they actually will.

It’s a small thing, but I guarantee you this tweak would help boost opt-in rates.

Opt-In Page Upgrade #3: Removing All The Other CTAs From The Page

Another principle I live by when I’m creating landing pages (which I also learned from Nicolas Cole):

The Rule of 1.

To maximize the opt-in rate of your landing page, you want to make sure there’s only one single action people can take on it.

In this case, the only possible action should be opting-in for the email course.

But if you take another look to Tiago’s landing page, you’ll notice there are actually a lot of different things people can click on on this page:

  • A navigation bar with 4 different options.
  • A banner prompting people to join the next BASB cohort.
  • Below the fold, there’s an entire section with links/buttons to buy copies of Tiago’s books.

If you want people to look around and check out all your stuff (and you’re aware of the tradeoff), then that’s fine.

But if you want to get as many people as possible to opt-in for your email course, then you will want to follow the Rule of 1.

Funnel Piece #2: The Redirect Thank You Page

Now, let’s talk about Tiago’s Thank You page.

First of all, the fact that he even has a Thank You page is a win.

Most creators don’t have one—and this is a big mistake.

Because this is the first thing someone sees after they take the bet to give you their email.

So this is a great opportunity to a) reward them for trusting you with their information and b) make a great first impression.

Here, Tiago does a good job “selling” you on opening the first email of the series, which is the next step in the funnel, so that’s good.

But there are 2 potential upgrades he and his team could make here:

  • Adding a short “welcome” video, basically reading the copy on the Thank You page and congratulating people for taking the first step in their Building A Second Brain journey. This is something I always do with my clients.
  • Adding a little bit of extra copy to a) better set the expectations of what’s to come and b) hype up the “transformation” they’re going to experience even more.

Here’s a great example from the Ship 30 guys.

Funnel Piece #3: The Email Course Welcome Email

Last but not least, let’s break down Tiago’s first email course email.

There’s some good stuff here.

He starts off this email with a story, which is interesting because it’s different from the way most people usually approach this email.

But it works—the story is good and immediately hooks you!

2 other subtle but powerful things I noticed in this email:

  • In the story, he mentions his “book publisher” which tacitly implies authority. (”Damn, this guy has a book. He must be legit!”)
  • I’ll share the top lessons behind building the systems that have made thousands of Forte Labs students’ lives more calm, meaningful, and productive.

Then he ends the email with 2 CTAs:

The first CTA is great.

Although I’d probably tweak it a little bit to make it more about the benefit that the reader will get from reading the emails.

For example:

Original: “It will only take a second, and we can both be sure that my emails will actually reach you and nothing slips through the cracks.”

Tweaked: “It will only take a second, and it will ensure you don’t miss any of the valuable frameworks in my upcoming emails.”

The second CTA is great too.

But for someone with a such a big list (100,000+) I wouldn’t recommend having a CTA asking for a reply. Because you’re going to get a bunch of responses (which is good). But if you’re not going to take the time to read and respond to every email, then you might kind of disappoint people who did respond.

Instead, I’d ask people to fill out a quick segmentation survey asking that same question plus a couple more.

And I’d offer a bonus chapter of one of his books in exchange for filling it out. (Incentives for the win!)

Tiago also has a great PS at the bottom of this email:

P.S. To help you locate these emails quicker in your inbox, each will have [Second Brain Quickstart] in the subject line.

This is a nice way to set expectations and increase the chances of people actually opening (and reading) your emails.

Pro tip: I like adding blurbs like that to my Thank You pages as well. That way, people know exactly what to look for when they check their inbox for my welcome email

Overall, this email is pretty good.

But there’s one last upgrade I’d make to it (and to the rest of the email course series):

I’d add “fast-forward” links.

If you sign up for any of the Ship 30 for 30 email courses, you’ll notice how at the bottom there’s always link that allows you to “fast forward” and get next email in the series without waiting a whole day for it.

This serves 2 purposes:

  1. It creates a nice user experience for readers who want to binge read the whole email course in one sitting.
  2. And it allows you to identify your most engaged leads. (If someone flies through your entire email course in a single day, there’s a good chance they’re enjoying your emails and they buy something from you.)

The problem is that ConvertKit, which is the tool that Tiago and I use, doesn’t have this “fast forward” functionality out of the box.

So you need to use a workaround that’s a bit technical for most people to make it happen.

If you have an email course and would like to add “fast forward” links to your emails, reply to this email and let me know. I’d be more than happy to help!

Funnel Breakdown Recap

And that’s a wrap!

We covered a lot and there are a bunch of tactical golden nuggets in this Breakdown.

So I’m going to quickly recap them all right below so you can get a quick refresher and decide which one of these nuggets you’re going implement in your own funnels.

Tactics Worth Stealing From Tiago’s Funnel

  • Start your welcome email with a story to instantly hook new readers
  • Leverage your Thank You page to “sell” your welcome email. (Bonus point if you use a video!)
  • Add a short via “teaser” explaining the transformation you can help people unlock via your lead magnet.

Potential Upgrades Tiago Could Make (That You Can Learn From)

  • Add “fast forward” links to his email course lessons
  • Only have one CTA/button on his email course opt-in page
  • Include a survey to segment his list on autopilot (instead of asking people to reply to his welcome email)

Boom—now the ball is on your court!

Which of these are you going to implement over the next week?

Hit reply and let me know!

Also, if you have any follow-up questions after reading this issue, be sure to let me know too!

I’m here to help :-)

Until next week,

~The Email Marketing Ninja

Funnel Breakdowns

By The Email Marketing Ninja

I spend 20+ hours/week analyzing the email funnels of 6 & 7 figure creators—so you can steal their money-making tactics in 10 minutes or less.

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